Editor’s note: Wausau Pilot & Review will publish a series of Q&As in the days leading up to the April 3 spring election for contested seats in the Wausau metro area. For a sample ballot and general election information, visit the Marathon County election information page. Watch for more election coverage and be sure to bookmark our elections page here. Candidates, listed in alphabetical order, were given the opportunity to answer identical questions in the interest of fairness. Their unedited answers are listed below.

Letters to the editor are encouraged through Monday, April 2. Email editor@wausaupilotreview-newspack.newspackstaging.com.

Reporting by Raymond Neupert


Wausau City Council, District 9

Dawn Herbst, Challenger

Question: Why are you running for office?

Answer: Joe Gehin is not running for reelection, and he asked if I would be interested in being a Candidate for District 9. After careful consideration I decided to represent District 9.

Q: What do you think should be the city council’s top priority this year?

A: Attract business to the area and be able to keep the younger generation here with the jobs those businesses generate.

Q: Do you think our downtown is healthy and successful? If not, what would you do to change that?

A: Yes and No.

Yes- We are healthy with the activities that the 400 Block generates.

No- I believe the addition of a Movie Theatre would be a good start.

Q: There has been some controversy about the riverfront development and how the city handles the RFP process. Do you think the city has handled this issue appropriately in the past? What, if anything, would you change for future projects?

A: Thorough Vetting!

Q: What’s more important for our city right now: building new homes and commercial space or better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

A: I believe we should utilize our existing homes and storefronts.

Q: How do you feel about the transportation options currently available in our city? How would you improve upon them?

A: I would like to see the surrounding municipalities contribute to the Busing System.

Q: How do you plan to involve residents in decision-making in our city?

A: By having mini town hall meetings in District 9

Q: If you received a $1 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

A: Make the money available for the businesses to upgrade their storefronts on the forgotten West Side of Wausau.

Q: Do you believe the city council’s decisions and actions along Thomas Street were appropriate? What, if anything, would you have done differently?

A: No! I would have made it 4 lanes, with a turning lane and eliminate the bicycle lanes.

Q: Anything else you’d like voters to know?

A: I’m passionate about community issues, and I’m eager to earn the trust of the residents of District 9. Drug Free neighborhoods and high quality service at affordable tax rates are also part of my agenda.


Griffith Williams

Age 65, Retired. Worked for a local greenhouse and for Wausau Metals as a production manager.

Question: Why are you running for office?

Answer: Wausau is my home.  I grew up here. My wife, Dorothy, and I raised our 2 kids here and we retired here.  I believe I can provide strong leadership to meet the challenges in Wausau.

Q: What do you think should be the city council’s top priority this year?

A: I believe Wausau must focus on policies that support families, and get it’s financial house in order.

Q: Do you think our downtown is healthy and successful? If not, what would you do to change that?

A: No.  Downtown needs to reassess the reality of it’s present condition, and deal with the Mall in a financially responsible way.  We may need to bring in outside consultants to gain information and perspective, and provide a strategic plan for the future.

Q: There has been some controversy about the riverfront development and how the city handles the RFP process. Do you think the city has handled this issue appropriately in the past? What, if anything, would you change for future projects?

A: No they have not handled it appropriately. (The $8 million for Wausau Chemical, for example.)  I would demand a better deal on acquiring the properties, and make decisions that support families, rather than subsidizing the business owners with millions of dollars.

Q: What’s more important for our city right now: building new homes and commercial space or better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

A: Building new homes and commercial space should be up to private enterprise, and should be more modestly supported by the city. The corporations want city subsidizes, but then turn around and want their property taxes reduced.  The property tax burden is being shouldered by families, and driving them out of the area. (For example, Wausau School District has lost 15% of its enrollment since 2000. Families tell me they can’t afford to live here.)

Q: How do you feel about the transportation options currently available in our city? How would you improve upon them?

A: We may have to look at subsidizing bus routes to the greater Wausau area, even if the other localities don’t provide financial support.

Q: How do you plan to involve residents in decision-making in our city?

A: I would better publicize public meeting agendas, times, and locations.  

Q: If you received a $1 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

A: I would support drug awareness and treatment.  Employers claim they cannot get new employees who can pass the drug test, and it’s destroying families.

Q: Do you believe the city council’s decisions and actions along Thomas Street were appropriate? What, if anything, would you have done differently?

A: No they were not appropriate.  They have had many years of failures concerning the Thomas Street project.  They should have gotten the proper advice on how to pursue the project from the start.  That can’t be changed now. From here on out they need to bring in necessary expertise for future projects, and better inform the public, particularly those who live on Thomas Street.

Q: Anything else you’d like voters to know?

A: My priority will be to make decisions to support families.